Newly Introduced Florida Bill Could Make Publishing Sexually Explicit Videos And Photos Illegal Without Subject’s Consent

One of the biggest concerns that many people have about sharing sensual photos and videos with their significant other is what will become of the private content if ever the relationship goes awry. The trend of sharing sexually explicit photos and videos featuring ex-boyfriends and girlfriends has become extremely popular since the advancement of smart phones and other technological devices. Unfortunately, there aren’t many laws that assist in regulating these distasteful revenge tactics, but Florida lawmakers are seeking to change that.

According to Salon, the Florida bill came as a result of activists pushing for both state and federal laws to criminalize the publishing of online content, which they refer to as “non-consensual p*rn” and is also popularly known as “revenge p*rn.”

“There are lots of laws that we can use on the civil side, from invasion of privacy to emotional distress to harassment and stalking,” says Erica Johnstone, co-founded of nonprofit organization Without My Consent.

The issue with these laws, however, is that websites that publish this type of content are protected by The Communications Decency Act, which prohibits site owners from being held liable for content submitted by “outside parties,” which is generally how most of those websites operate. Mary Ann Franks, a law professor at the University of Miami suggests that the newly introduced bill is a step in the right direction, but there’s still so much more to be done, describing the law as “too broad and too narrow.”

“It’s very good that it recognizes what I call ‘contextual consent’ — the fact that a person might consent to be photographed or filmed in one context but not in another,” said Franks.

For example, the bill is said to be applicable to “any photograph or video of an individual which depicts nudity,” but doesn’t delve specifically into exactly what will be considered nudity.

“[It is] an extremely broad formulation that could potentially include a photograph of someone standing next to a picture of Botticelli’s Venus,” Franks continued.

She also went on to question the fact that the law will not necessarily include videos or photos taken in public.

“If a woman’s skirt blows up in the wind and she is not wearing anything underneath, can an image of her be posted to an upskirt p*rn site? What about mothers breast-feeding in public? Is a public bathroom public? What about a changing room in a department store?” Franks questions.

Clearly, there’s still a lot to be considered, but lawmakers had to begin somewhere, right?

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